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Climate & Energy

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Saying 'no' to secrecy

Judge refuses request for a closed courtroom in global warming case

You may have heard about efforts by the motor vehicle industry to invalidate state laws restricting greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks. California crafted a rule, other states adopted it, and the industry filed suit. It's a legal argument that stretches back to 2005. And with three active cases -- in California, Rhode Island, and Vermont -- it's not going away soon. In a dramatic new twist, the industry asked the court in the Vermont case to hold most of the trial in secret. The industry argues that information about fuel efficiency and car design is a trade secret …

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I heart David Tilman

Tilman on biofuels in Sunday's Washington Post: eminently readable and reasonable on parsing the differences between good and bad biofuels, drops in ethanol production in Brazil, what renewable really means, and where we should go from here. The op-ed's based on his December Science study, which was discussed here. Everything he writes makes so much sense. Why can't all scientists be this articulate?

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It Seems We’ve Stood and Talked Like This Before

Climate change could make some climate zones disappear, worsen asthma It's been a while since we've done a probable-effects-of-climate-change story, and we'd hate to leave you hanging. So: according to a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, climate change could reinvent the world's climate zones by 2100 (feels closer all the time, don't it?). New climate zones could emerge -- leading, for instance, to more forest fires in a hot, dry Amazon -- and some current polar and mountain zones could disappear entirely. "The species that live in these climates really have nowhere to go as …

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Outback Darkhouse

Sydney, Australia, to put the lights out for climate change Last month, Australian officials announced that traditional incandescent light bulbs would be phased out by 2010 and replaced by compact fluorescents and other efficient lighting technologies. But Sydney is getting a jump on the energy-conservation action: this Saturday, bulbs across the city will be going dark for one hour. More than 30,000 Sydney households and 1,000 businesses have pledged to turn off their lights at 7:30 p.m. to raise awareness about global warming. "The first commitment is lights off for an hour, then as we go forward, we're looking to …

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Tell your clean energy story; appear in Jay Inslee's book

Fun all around

Rep. Jay Inslee's wife Trudi asked me to pass this along to you: America needs a clean energy revolution, and we need your stories! Are you, your company, or community building the clean energy economy today? We want to tell the world about it. We will share clean energy stories on the website apollosfire.net, and selected ones will be published in a special chapter of the forthcoming book Apollo's Fire: Igniting America's Clean Energy Economy by Congressman Jay Inslee and Bracken Hendricks, due for release by Island Press in September 2007. Tell us how you are taking action to stop …

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Inconvenient headlines

Tom Athanasiou (exec. director of EcoEquity) reminds us of two things. The first is that domestic programs for emission reductions just aren't going to cut it. We have to find some equitable way to draw China and India into the fold. The second is something I've been meaning to propose: Let's all of us pull together as a nation and agree on the following: a total ban, beginning now and extending indefinitely, on headlines including any variant of "inconvenient," "truth," or combinations thereof. The expiration date has passed, friends. Let's let it go.

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This is what I'm talking about

Good communication strategy

Witness: The United States should accelerate development of renewable energy sources because of increased risk from terrorist attacks that could cripple the economy, former national security adviser Robert McFarlane said Saturday. How do you think that compares, in terms of voter priorities, to saving "the earth" or saving polar bears or saving arctic ice? Save your own ass. Now that's a sticky message.

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Conservatives and global warming

Wherein we puzzle through the truthiness

I was recently made aware of the fact that the conservative National Review has a newish blog called Planet Gore. That's right: the only conservative blog I know of on global warming is primarily focused on mocking Al Gore -- who is, you'll recall, a big Fatty Fatterstein. This pungent discovery got me pondering a post on how conservative opposition to global warming advocacy seems openly and bizarrely centered on hatred of liberals and environmentalists and Al Gore rather than, say, any substantive take on the issue itself. It is perhaps the clearest example of how modern conservatism has descended …

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A new target

Proposed coal company merger will draw green opposition

This is from a press release that just crossed the transom: The expected March 29, 2007 merger of Dynegy and LS Power will create a combined company with the most pending dirty coal-fired power plants in the United States. This plan contrasts sharply with the recent TXU decision to back away from such heavily polluting plants and also heightens concerns about growing risks to shareholders, according to a major new report prepared for the National Environmental Trust (NET) by Innovest Strategic Value Advisors, a leading investment research firm. If this merger goes through, it will create a company that will …

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Political warfare /= scientific warfare

Time to quit pretending otherwise

Late last week Chris Mooney had a long and characteristically careful post on HuffPo clarifying the hurricane/climate change connection, exactly what Gore's said about it, and exactly where Gore can and cannot be legitimately criticized for it. The crucial point in the post, though, is not about hurricanes. It's this: Nevertheless, when it comes to the science of global warming and its impacts, there's a very significant difference between Gore and his would-be detractors. Gore takes the conclusions of the mainstream scientific community on global warming seriously and for the most part describes them very accurately, albeit with perhaps a …